Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group to save a number of jobs in £37m DW deal

first_imgThe Newcastle United owner’s retail empire is to buy some of its former rival’s gym and fitness assets out of administration.DW Sports was founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan.Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has bought some assets of DW Sports out of administration in a £37m deal that it says will save “a number of jobs”.The sports retailer and gyms group collapsed earlier this month, putting 1,700 roles at risk, after its income was wiped out during the coronavirus lockdown.Mr Ashley, the Sports Direct tycoon and Newcastle United owner, is acquiring some of its gym and fitness assets in the deal announced on Monday.But the deal does not include the name of the business – which was founded by Dave Whelan, the former Wigan Athletic owner who was once Mr Ashley’s rival in the sportswear sector. DW ran 73 gyms and 75 shops across the UK before announcing plans to shut 25 of its outlets last month.This month, it said it would wind down its retail business for good, with its website ceasing trading immediately and closing-down sales at 50 remaining stores – as it prepared to enter administration.Frasers said the gym and fitness parts of the business would be developed under the Everlast brand that it already owns.The group, centred on Mr Ashley’s Sports Direct chain, is aiming to become more upmarket under an “elevation” strategy.It changed its name to Frasers Group following the acquisition of struggling department store chain House of Fraser, also bought out of administration. The price of the DW deal could rise to £43.9m if Frasers eventually acquires some leaseholds as part of it.It said: “Frasers group looks forward to elevating the gym and fitness assets acquired pursuant to the transaction under the group’s existing iconic Everlast brand, and is also pleased to have saved a number of jobs.”The deal adds to a series of acquisitions of brands by Mr Ashley including Jack Wills and Evans Cycles.Last week, Frasers reported a slump in annual profits of nearly 20% as the coronavirus lockdown took its toll and warned of further closures of House of Fraser sites – but also issued an optimistic outlook for earnings in the coming year.last_img